Page 20: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2003)
Government Update in accordance with SOLAS and the
ISPS Code to meet the Secretarial approval requirement of the MTSA is unclear.
It is recommended that the U.S. Coast
Guard write its regulations so as to maintain the distinction between the international VSP and the U.S. VSP. For port state control purposes, the Coast
Guard should limit itself to conducting normal examinations to determine whether a foreign vessel has a valid international VSP and is in substantial compliance therewith.
For domestic purposes, the Coast
Guard should establish a separate and distinct requirement for ships operating in U.S. waters to have on board a U.S.
VSP, meeting the requirements of the
MTSA. Owners and operators should be permitted (but not required) to pre- pare one VSP meeting both the interna- tional and U.S. requirements.
The MTSA. at 46 U.S.C. § 70103(c)(3)(B), requires that a U.S.
VSP "identify the qualified individual having full authority to implement security actions, and require immediate communications between that individ- ual and the appropriate Federal official and the persons providing personnel and equipment pursuant to subpara- graph (C)." The Notice, though, is silent on this issue. Does the Coast
Guard consider the qualified individual (QI) to be the ship security officer (SSO). the company security officer (CSO). the master, or some other per- son?
If the QI is considered by the Coast
Guard to be some person other than the
SSO. CSO, or master, must this person be physically located in the United
States and must this person be available on a 24-hour basis ?
Will the Coast Guard address this
MTSA requirement in the rulemaking discussed in the Notice, or will this be done in a separate rulemaking?
In order to provide maximum flexibil- ity. it is recommended that the Coast
Guard permit a company to designate the CSO. SSO. master, or some other person who is reasonably available to serve as the QI. It is recommended that the QI provision be included in the interim regulations.
Availability of Security Measures
The MTSA, at 46 U.S.C. § 70103(c)(3)(D), requires that a U.S.
VSP "identify, and ensure by contract or other means approved by the Secretary, the availability of security measures sufficient to deter to the maximum extent practicable a transportation secu- rity incident or a substantial threat of such a security incident." These words are wholly ambiguous. The MTSA
Conference Report states, in pertinent part: • Section 70103(c)(3)(D) regarding antiterrorism measures is not intended to require vessel operators to contract in advance or otherwise arrange for antiterrorism response resources. The
Conferees consider antiterrorism response the responsibility of local,
Maritime Reporter & Engineering News .fir eMLlj^S- 4
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